Rental Scam Alert

02/27/2015


In the recent weeks we have had three people call the Concierge Desk to verify that the units they were about to rent on Craig's List were indeed for rent. A fourth caller had already made a deposit and was concerned that she had been scammed. In all four cases the rentals were scams. On February 26, 2015 a man arrived at the front door after midnight to meet the person who he had paid for a rental unit but, of course, the "landlord" never showed up and the unit was not for rent. Our guard assisted the victim and referred him to the police. These are sophisticated scams and in each case the victim was sent website information and photos of the unit. If you see a unit for rent on Craig's List or elsewhere that you want to rent, we urge you to do the following:
  • Get the name, address and phone number of the owner of the unit from the advertiser who answers your call. 
  • Get the Unit Number for the unit you are trying to rent. 
  • Get the name of the person who you are speaking with and ascertain if he or she is a rental agent. If so, get the company name.
  • Rental agents require a state license but unfortunately not all are licensed. Verify a Realtor or Collective Vacation Rental License with My Florida then call the rental agent's office number to verify that this is a valid transaction. Call their listed number, not the number given to you by the alleged landlord or agent. If you are speaking with a licensed agent, then you can probably assume that this is a valid transaction.
  • Remember that the scam artist can easily find the owner's name, the unit number and rental from internet ads so just because he has answers to your questions doesn't mean he is legitimate. The scam artist has also probably read this alert!
  • If the person you speak with claims to be the owner and not a rental agent, call our Concierge Desk. Our number is listed on this website. We may be able to put you in touch with the actual owner who can verify if this is a valid transaction.
  • Do not give anyone a deposit until you are confident this is a valid transaction.
  • Our Concierge knows which units are rented directly by the owner and which are rented through an agent. Since the scammer typically "rents" units that are advertised for rent on legitimate websites, you are generally offered a unit that is actually available but for a higher cost on the legitimate site. If the rent offered on Craig's List is lower than the rent offered online, there may be a problem with the Craig's List offer.

We suggest that you assume this is a scam if any of the following pertain to the transaction:

  • Shop around. Rentals at Ocean Vistas are consistently competitive. In some cases the victim is given a price of $1200 for the week. Ocean Vistas is a high-end luxury condo with units for sale as high as a million dollars and you are not likely to find a rental for $1200 a week here. If you are, you need to verify the transaction carefully.
  • The minimum rental is one full week. If you are offered a rental for less than a full week, call our concierge and report it and look elsewhere. This is a scam. We are not a hotel and will not allow rentals of less than seven days.
  • While I can't say for certain that some owners who rent their units themselves might not use Craig's List, very few do. Any Craig's List transaction should be a tip off to a possible scam.
  • If you are told to meet someone at the condo late at night, this is not a good thing. While owners are free to offer to meet you after hours to meet your arrival needs, the scammer is trying to get you to arrive when no one is here to witness the transaction or assist you. Rentals generally check in on Saturday during business hours, and the owner or his agent meets the renter and gives a check-in tour. Some few owners mail the electronic key to the renter in advance after receiving your check, so the burden is on you to verify the transaction before you send money.
  • Ocean Vistas is not allowed by law to give you your key or conduct a check in because we are not a hotel. You are checked in by the rental agent or owner personally. If you are told to go to the front desk for assistance, that should be a giveaway that this is possibly a scam. If you are told to go to the front desk in the middle of the night, it is almost certainly a scam.

Your transaction to rent a unit here is a private transaction between you and the owner of the unit you are renting, and may be directly with the owner or through a licensed rental agent or Realtor. But Ocean Vistas Condominium Association is not part to that transaction and gets no portion of your rent nor do we charge an amenity fee so we are not responsible in any way if you are scammed. There is nothing we can do for you.

Ocean Vistas is a wonderful place to stay when you are in Daytona but it is a premium property with many oceanfront units that offers real value to the guest. But common sense must prevail and it seems like the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.

Steve Keller
President, Board of Directors
Ocean Vistas Condo Association